Kenya Airways Offers Free Flight Tickets From New York

Travelers around the world continue to face hurdles and barriers as governments close their borders and airlines suspend flights. In fact, Kenya Airways has had to reduce its network by over 70% and will soon stop all international traffic. Thus, for its final flight departing New York’s JFK airport for Nairobi, the airline is offering complimentary tickets for Kenyan citizens who are in financial need.

Kenya Airways Offers Free Flight Tickets From New York
Kenya Airways operates its Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the relatively new New York-Nairobi service. The service has been operating for less than two years. Photo: Getty Images

The announcement

The announcement was made via a Twitter post earlier today. As shown below, the tweet announces the offer of complimentary tickets to Kenyan citizens in urgent need:

Kenyans who find themselves in this situation will need to call the phone number listed. The flight details are unclear at this point. A March 25th service from JFK to NBO is scheduled- however, the outbound flight has been canceled. The airline may be operating a slightly altered schedule with a special flight taking place today. If this is the case, the aircraft operating it would be a 787 with registration 5Y-KZH.

Stranded travelers around the world

Around the world, travelers who thought they would be away from home for two or three weeks face the risk of being stranded away from home for much longer. This is because airlines around the world have been suspending their international services due to increasing government travel restrictions.

Just yesterday we found out that airlines Emirates and Etihad will need to suspend all international flights as the UAE government has decided to ban all passenger flights into and out of the country. This includes passengers transferring through.

Many travelers even find themselves unable to rebook their flights as they face trouble trying to contact the airline about their specific situations. In fact, Simple Flying’s comments boards have been inundated with travelers desperate for advice and information regarding their flights. Unable to address specific cases, we’ve written an article with guidance on steps travelers can take.

Kenya Airways Offers Free Flight Tickets From New York
Kenya Airways normally flies its 787s to destinations such as Amsterdam, London, and Bangkok. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying


While the airline will have to accept passenger claims on good faith, this is a remarkably kind and generous gesture during a time of great need. The cost of a last-minute long-haul ticket on a ‘good day’ would be fairly expensive. Tickets for a final flight that may not resume for weeks or months would realistically cost far more. In recent days we saw Air Canada arrange repatriation flights from Morocco, charging passengers roughly C$1,500 for each one-way ticket.

The decision by Kenya Airways is even more commendable considering the dark days ahead for the aviation industry – Kenya Airways included. As some international airlines start to wind-down their long-haul services, they will most certainly be aware of the fact that they are flying the last few paying passengers for what could be weeks or months.

Are you stranded somewhere trying to find your way home? Share your story with us in the comments.

Simple Flying reached out to Kenya Airways to find out more details about this offer and whether or not it was being subsidized by the Kenyan government. At the time of publishing this article, no response has been received.